The morning before I started my journey toward Michigan for Christmastime I kept crying. I was sad to leave my dogs and in that moment I didn’t want to. But I was going to, and I don’t like doing things sad, so I told myself, “Don’t think. Just do.”
So I got on a motorcycle (with my giant suitcase), got on a bus, got in a taxi, arrived at my friends’ empty apartment in Boca Chica, and watched the entire season of Glow Up while coughing. I woke up the next morning, went to the airport, and got on the plane. I just did it.
I have the tendency to overthink things, to look back and overanalyze, to play the “what if” game in the past, present, and future.
My parents gave me a one-a-day calendar with book recommendations for Christmas (I am known and loved). Yesterday’s offering was a quote about how when we put things off we value the present more than the future. I think it was supposed to be a charge to not put things off and to get things done and in so doing, to love and value our future selves.
But that’s not what I needed to hear so I read those words and I realized that valuing the present is something that could actually change my life and possibly even banish anxious and self-deprecating thoughts for good.
I was in Michigan for a week and a half and it was awesome. I have no regrets about how I spent my time or who I spent it with. Every morning I reminded myself, “Don’t think. Just do.” And it worked! I just did what I wanted to do in each moment and I ate when I was hungry and when I heard myself getting snippy with my mom I shut it down. I rested when I was tired and when I wanted to play games I asked my parents to play with me.
The night before I flew back to the Dominican Republic I felt myself getting emotional. I am a big believer in feeling all of my feelings and thinking things through. Processing and self-reflection are very important tools in my emotional health tool kit. But I didn’t feel ready to do that yet, so as I packed to come home I reminded myself, “Don’t think. Just do.” And the next morning on the way to the airport I reminded myself again, and throughout the day, as much as needed – “Don’t think. Just do.”
When I finally made it back to my house here in Jarabacoa I cried a bit. I’m allowing myself time and space over these next few days before going back to work to feel my feelings – to think, as well as do. But I’m glad to know that I can do it the other way, too, that I can be fully present in the moment. Because the only ten days in all of 2019 that I had at my parents’ house with my family and Michigan friends weren’t for thinking and processing and self-awareness. They were for doing and being and resting (and lots of coughing, unfortunately – I don’t winter well anymore).
For everything there is a season, praise God. Now, when I am alone and my days are completely my own, is the time to think more and do less. I’m grateful to learn this distinction.
One of my quietly-declared goals for 2019 was to get out of town at least once a month. It was something I wanted to accomplish but thought was pretty unlikely, given what a homebody introvert I have become. But it ended up happening pretty organically and it was really nice. To me traveling helps me to stop thinking and to be present, to enjoy the people I’m with exactly where I am.
In 2020 I want to get out of town at least once a month. Apart from March I’ve already got monthly trips lined up until September. I want to be intentional about being present and outside of my own head more and I think these monthly trips are a good opportunity to practice.
And I suppose besides reading another 100 books, that’s my first resolution.